We agree with Steinbeck, except maybe the “less expensive” part, because unless your idea of fishing is sitting on a riverbank with a cane pole and a can of worms, fishing can be quite an expensive habit. That's especially true if you need a new fishing boat. But, could it still a better mental health investment than therapy? Let’s crunch the numbers.
Lake Anglers – The least expensive way to go after those bass, walleye, and lake trout is going to be with something along the lines of a 16’ aluminum fishing boat with a 60-hp outboard. For $10,000 you can make it happen. Now pony up another $500 for rods, reels, and tackle. You go fishing every weekend from June through September and every other weekend during the spring and fall, for 32 eight-hour trips averaging five gallons of fuel each. That comes out to about $500 per year. Figuring your gear and boat are good for around five years, and by then you should have the boat paid off, that’s 1,280 hours of fishing at a cost of $13,000. In other words, right around $100 per hour, which is the minimum you’ll be charged for any kind of effective psycho-babble. Fishing wins, hands-down.
Bay Anglers – You guys need center console boats that are a bare minimum of 18’ and have at least 100 horses on the transom. $20,000 is barely enough to get you out of the gate. Your gear costs more, too, so you’d better plan to spend $1,000. And fuel costs go up by about a third. That means you’ll be spending around $24,250 to stay sane, for an hourly cost of around $189. Wait a sec — since your boat is fiberglass, you’ll also want to wax and maintain it regularly, which has an indisputably therapeutic effect. Credit yourself another 60 hours per year, and cost comes down to $153 per hour. That would get you onto a comfy couch in most areas of the nation, but ivy-league help would still be more expensive — and a lot less fun.
Offshore Anglers – It’s time to go all-out, and get a big, fat, 50-something convertible or express bluewater fishing boat. You drop a cool three mil on it, gear costs $10,000, and every time you leave the dock you blow through $500 in fuel. Plus, you have another $10,000 in mooring and maintenance every year. Total cost: 3.14 million, which equates to $2,453 per hour of fishing. Unless my math is off, you are in dire need of mental help.